Dining at Kabab Café is a highly personalized experience, in part by necessity, because food is prepared and served in a space not much larger than a studio apartment. Chef and owner Ali El Sayed hails from Alexandria, Egypt, and like the city’s ancient library, he’s a fountain of knowledge. He’ll help you figure out how to proceed, food-wise — don’t even bother with the menu — and he might lay down a little philosophy while he makes, say, a mezze plate with Middle Eastern dips, crispy kale, and some excellent falafel; an appetizer of sweetbreads doused in lemon; and chicken cooked in a pomegranate reduction. He may guide you toward cuts of meat you’ve never tried before — heart, brain, testicles — but given his knack for infusing every dish with expertly harmonized flavors and soul, you can’t go wrong.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2014